Wow. There wasn’t a whole lot of offense but there was a whole lot of drama as the Washington Nationals opened their new park by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2. Ryan Zimmerman, he of the many game winning hits in his 2 seasons in baseball hit one for the ages. A walk-off, frozen rope, home run to left center field that started the season in style and opened the new Nationals stadium with a memory that none of the fans or players will ever forget.
After George Bush got more boos than cheers during the ceremonial first pitch and the Atlanta side was retired in order by opening day starter Odalis Perez, the game started off with a bang for the Nationals, getting two runs in the first inning against Braves starter Tim Hudson. Sadly, that was all the offense they could muster against the veteran as he retired 19 straight batters before being sent to the showers.
Cristian Guzman got the first hit in the park off a broken bat single and scored the first run off a Nick Johnson double. Johnson would later score off a Kearns single to right field. Larry “Chipper” Jones hit the first home run in Nationals Park getting the Braves to within 1 run in the fourth inning. A mishandled Jon Rauch pitch by Paul Loduca allowed the Braves to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the 9th, but a 2 out home run by Ryan Zimmerman against Peter Moylan allowed the Nats to take home their first win ever in Nationals Park.
Overall, the Nationals pitched well, had more good defensive plays than bad and were a little overmatched at the plate against a crafty veteran pitcher. In the end, they won in very dramatic fashion but the real story of the game was that ballpark looked and played great. Hopefully Trapper John, who was at the game, will write up his game day experience in the blog, but watching it on TV, I have to say I cannot wait to see this place in person. I’m sure there will be plenty of stories today that will talk about the food lines, the high prices, the horrible traffic, the congestion at the metro stations, etc. but for now, lets just savor the Nats win and the opening of the new digs. Baseball season has started folks, and I, for one, cannot be happier.
Oh yea, Zimmerman is a God. Long live Zimmerman!
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